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Zion's DilemmasHow Israel Makes National Security Policy$
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Charles D. Freilich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451041

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451041.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Zion's Dilemmas

Charles D. Freilich

Cornell University Press

This book examines the national security decision-making processes (DMPs) in Israel, focusing primarily on the prime ministerial and cabinet levels and on their interaction with the organs of the defense establishment. It considers three primary causal factors, or independent variables, which result in five major decision-making pathologies, the dependent variables. These independent variables are: the harsh and dangerous external environment in Israel; Israel's proportional representation system; and the weak decision-making capabilities and political and bureaucratic stature of the primary civilian national security organs (that is, the ministries of foreign affairs and defense and the National Security Council). The book presents seven in-depth case studies that involved deeply flawed DMPs, except for one. These include cases dealing with Lebanon, the peace processes with Egypt in 1977–1978 and with Palestine in 2000, the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and the development of the Lavi fighter aircraft in the 1980s. The book argues that Israel must improve its national security decision-making and suggests further reforms needed on both the institutional and electoral levels.

Keywords:   national security decision-making, Israel, national security, proportional representation, defense establishment, National Security Council, Egypt, Palestine, Gaza, decision-making process

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